07/22/12 12:48 AM ET
Saito adds veteran presence in return from disabled list
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
The 42-year-old made his season debut hours after the roster move, pitching one inning against the Astros in the D-backs' 12-3 win and allowing an unearned run on a hit and a walk.
With the appearance, he became the first player of Japanese descent to pitch for the D-backs.
Saito had missed the entire season up to Saturday with calf and shoulder injuries.
"He's had some setbacks, but he's confident and feels ready to go," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We met yesterday, and I tried to get a feeling of how we wanted to proceed. He told me he was 100 percent healthy. His calf is good, his shoulder is good, no sickness, he's ready to dedicate himself to this team."
Before Saturday, Saito most recently threw three scoreless innings for the Arizona League D-backs from July 13-19. He also appeared in four games for Triple-A Reno from June 5-14, allowing three earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
"He's had plenty of rehab work," Gibson said. "He said he was ready for better competition, so I said, 'Well, there's some pretty good competition here.'"
Moving forward, Gibson plans to use Saito in the sixth or seventh inning, but he won't hesitate to throw him later in games because of his experience.
The D-backs will, however, try to limit his workload in order to ease him into a groove.
"He's going to be a little rusty, probably. I won't be able to throw in him back-to-back days," Gibson said. "Maybe an inning one day and a third of an inning the next day, but I wouldn't say two innings."
In 323 career relief appearances, he is 21-15 with 84 saves, a 2.17 ERA and 389 strikeouts.
"Every year he's pitched, he's had good results. We're counting [on him to be] ready to pitch and navigate through a lineup," Gibson said. "We saw Saito as somebody who has a ton of experience and knows how to pitch in leverage situations. That's an advantage for us."
Miley sets personal, club milestones
PHOENIX -- Although it was Jason Kubel who stole the spotlight on Saturday night with three home runs in the D-backs' 12-3 win over the Astros, it was starter Wade Miley who set a franchise record in the game.
With his 11th win of the season, he broke the club record for wins in a season by a rookie.
"It's an accomplishment, but I don't put too much thought into it," Miley said. "I'll just go back out there in five days and leave this behind me."
The 25-year-old tossed seven strong innings, surrendering just four hits and one run while striking out a career-high nine.
"They are a super-aggressive team," Miley said. "They are a quality young team. I just tried to make pitches and throw strikes."
Saturday night's stellar performance came as a relief to the All-Star, who struggled in his previous three outings, surrendering 15 earned runs over a combined 16 innings.
The win was his first since June 24, against the Cubs.
"He threw a lot of pitches early, but he got into a groove," manager Kirk Gibson said. "The last two innings, he only threw 10 pitches. We needed that."
McDonald has no setbacks after two straight games
PHOENIX -- After playing two straight nine-inning games in the Arizona League on Thursday and Friday, rehabbing infielder John McDonald reported feeling good afterward, with no setbacks.
McDonald was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 2, retroactive to June 25, nursing a slight strain of his left oblique, an injury he thinks he sustained in mid-May.
"I've come a long way. I don't want to put a [percentage] number on it," McDonald said. "I feel good. I'm getting better every day."
The 37-year-old took Saturday off but will return to action on Sunday. The D-backs originally thought his injury would keep him out for as little as a week, but the healing process has taken longer than the club hoped.
"Any time you have something like this, you don't know how long it's going to be, when it's going to be fully back," McDonald said. "I would have liked it to have gone quicker, but unfortunately, you have to make sure you're completely healthy before you come back to play. You see too many times when guys come back too fast. I'm not talented enough to play at half speed."
Moving forward, McDonald will continue to play in the Arizona League before the team decides its next move.
"It's certainly a good first step in my mind," manager Kirk Gibson said.
Even when the veteran feels ready to make a comeback, he knows the ultimate decision will belong to the D-backs, not him.
"Whatever plan they have in place for me is fine. They've got a lot of things going on besides trying to activate a guy as soon as he is ready," McDonald said. "It's completely up to them."
July not being kind to Shaw
PHOENIX -- Things haven't been the same for reliever Bryan Shaw since the calendar turned over to July.
After allowing just one run in 11 1/3 innings in June, the right-hander has taken a beating this month, surrendering 10 runs (eight earned) in six innings, including seven in his last two outings.
Handed a three-run lead on Thursday in Cincinnati, Shaw walked two batters, then served up a two-run double and eventually took the loss after recording just one out.
Just a day later, he allowed three runs on three hits in an inning of work against the Astros.
"The ball was flying straight, not a lot of action on it," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's struggling a bit right now, he goes through that. We'll continue to talk with him and encourage him."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.